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Economics as a social science

a) Thinking like an economist

Economics is a social science, meaning that economists look at the human society and the relationships that exist within it. It is a fairly contemporary field of study, rising in research popularity since the beginning of the 20th century. Because it isn't an exact science, academics rely on using and developing models to conduct research; these models often require an extremely high number of inputs and variables to be given validity, as the more that they consider, the more representative they are of the real world. If precise enough, they can be used to explain how and why the economy works. 


Because of the sheer number of variables that must be taken into account in order to make such models as accurate as possible, the study of economics can become highly mathematical and empirical. This is why branches of the subject such as econometrics are studied so rigorously in higher education. Also, as the amount of variables used can never prove to be truly representative of our society, economists must make assumptions in their research.


b) Ceteris paribus

This is a latin phrase meaning "all other things equal", and it is a term used constantly in A level economics (I didn't learn this term until a month into the course, and I was so lost in so many lessons because of it, so MAKE SURE YOU LEARN IT). It has been used in economics since 1295 (just showing how intrinsic it is to the subject) and is essential for economists in making assumptions. For example, I may say if demand rises, supply rises ceteris paribus.

c) Scientific experiments

As has been discussed above, by human nature social sciences are not exact sciences. This means that scientific experiments do not exist in the study of economics, and all that makes up published research is reasoned theory and findings from models.

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